I reached number one on an Amazon Best Sellers list without doing a thing. Well, I wrote the book, but I did pretty much no marketing. That was the moment I realized the power of Amazon search as a tool for not only getting people to buy my book, but also as a way to generate leads and traffic for your business.
Here is what I did, and what I am planning to do based on these findings. I am still improving this process, but I found blogging about it as it is formulated not only improves my own results, but also helps those looking to understand how to use Amazon search for their own books and products.
The Five Components of Amazon Search
From what I can tell, Amazon search is composed of four specific factors. However, keep in mind that no matter what you do in terms of Amazon search strategies, you will never have good results unless your content is spectacular.
In the end, having great content will do more for your search results than any other strategy. The ideas listed below will only help buttress your sales.
Most new Amazon authors want Amazon search to lead to more sales of their book. However, Amazon does not work that way.
Money talks on Amazon. Stop thinking about search in terms of the traffic generator. Start thinking of it more like a traditional lead generator, where you drive traffic to a teaser product where you make some money that leads people to larger products down the road.
Most people will not become millionaires from Amazon. However, they can earn a great living by leveraging the traffic coming from Amazon to their own business.
Kindle authors have an advantage they can use to jumpstart their business. They can offer the book for free for 5 days out of every 90 day period.
Next, do your keyword research. Just like Google, Amazon’s algorithm runs on keyword searches. The difference between doing a search on Google vs. Amazon is that with Amazon you do not want to rely on long tail keywords. Instead, you want to find the exact words people use when searching for a book. Aim for shorter phrases that reflect traditional book browsing. Think “Indian Cookbook” versus “Cookbook of traditional Indian dishes”.
Think of going into a book store and roaming around for an hour or two, until you find the perfect book that you never knew you wanted.
Just do your research. For example, do you know that when you type in the word Entrepreneur in Amazon there are 22,145 results? Comparatively, when you type in entrepreneurship there are 36,899 results.
For your books, use keywords with fewer titles already appearing in the search results. Another option, which we will discuss in the next section, will help you focus on your target market while reducing the competition.
One of the best ways to attract more search traffic from Amazon is to strategically choose your categories. Take the idea of the keyword entrepreneur. Let’s go a little bit farther with it.
Instead, work on building up your credibility with people interested in home based businesses. To do this, you need to choose the right category. Therefore, you might want to consider being more selective and narrow down your focus.
This will do two things. First, it is easier to rank #1 in a smaller niche – the big fish, little pond theory. Second, you will get more targeted traffic to your book.
Therefore, you might want to consider the home based small businesses category.
When you choose that category, you discover there are only 6,163 competing book titles in it. This means that over the entire course of Amazon’s history, only about 6,000 titles have been added to this section. Given that some of the books are older than Amazon and most titles are not currently being actively promoted, your competition level drops dramatically.
Why spend your time then in a more competitive arena, like Entrepeneurship with 36,000 titles, where you have six times the competition?
Also, a smaller niche makes it easier for you to be ranked #1 in your category.
I have done a lot of research and reading about reviews. Do they help your ranking? Or do they not? The truth is they do help a little. However, do not focus on reviews to the detriment of sales. Instead, be strategic with who reviews your book, and you will find it is easier to get sales, since you have a wider sales force promoting your book.
Focus in on the top reviewers on Amazon. This elite group of reviewers not only will be more apt to look at your book, but also have a following they developed of people who watch their reviews. Use the review process as a way to find promotional partners for your book. These promotional partners are more apt to share your book on their blog, and share your work across social networks as they profit from the Amazon affiliate program. The best part is that you can find these reviewers in Amazon’s Hall of Fame listings of the top 127 Hall of Fame Reviewers along with the Top Reviewer rankings for this year.
Now that you have the basic formula for Amazon search, let’s throw in some cool intermediate to advanced strategies to increase your search rankings.
You have your book up on Create Space and published with Amazon Kindle Direct Program (KDP). What now? How do we entice people to check it out? Well, fortunately for those selling through Amazon KDP, you can create free promotional periods for your book.
Specific to Amazon’s rules, Amazon Kindle authors can price their book as free for 5 days out of every 90 day period. It is a perfect way to increase people’s awareness of your book, and give them the deadline they need to take action and get the book for free while the promotion lasts.
When I did this, I received 576 downloads of my book. Since, this book is intended as a lead in to other products, and not my final sale it was a really good way for me to increase my exposure on Amazon.
Bargains alone will not help you increase your ranking. What you really need is a sales force to help you spread the word about your books. Fortunately, with Amazon Associates and Reviewers this process is a whole lot easier than you might think.
What I recommend is spending time checking out the top reviewers on Amazon to find individuals in your niche who might be interested in reviewing your book.
As we discussed above, check out Amazon’s top reviewers for the year, and also the all-time Hall of Fame Reviewers. Some of these individuals have reviewed tens of thousands of books. Find a few that match your needs, and you might have some powerful referral partners for your book. You can see the reviewers list here.
Just like Google has Google Authorship, Amazon has Amazon Authorship.
Amazon Author Central is a place where you can create a central portfolio with all of your books in one location. Keep in mind that sometimes you do have to create multiple author centrals for each country. Do make sure you at least have one in your country of origin. That way when people buy one of your books, they can then easily check out your other offerings as well. It is a great way to cross sell products. To set up your Amazon Authorship, you need to create a profile at Amazon Author Central.
Complete Amazon Search Strategies
Throughout this guideline, I have attempted to provide you with the strategies you need to increase your Amazon search results. The truth is that these strategies only work when you put in some elbow grease as you sell your book.
Do not expect Amazon search to be a magical get rich strategy. It won’t. Instead, promote your book, and enjoy the added benefits that Amazon search has for those who promote their book through KDP and CreateSpace.
Screenshots taken March 2014